Telkom Outsourcing to Bidvest. A Perspective from the Telkom National Billing Integrity (NBI) Team

The NBI members in Telkom's IT Operations share their experience of the recent outsourcing of the Print Shops to Bidvest, which was successfully completed at the end of April 2015. Here's what they had to say (information courtesy of Malan Coetzee and Theuns Bothma, of Telkom):

Telkom NBI Team

From Left to Right, Front Row: Susan Booysen, Malan Coetzee and Serene Roos

Back Row: Cathy van Wyk, Rina Dennis, Ansie de Wit, Carol-Anne van der Westhuizen and Christa Vermaak

During the past year, our printers were breaking down on a daily basis. This had a severe impact on the NBI team as we spent late nights working to catch up so that invoices could still be sent out on time.

Together, NBI and Bidvest investigated ways to improve efficiencies, resulting in Bidvest developing a tool that would enable us to verify our invoices online. During the migration process, the teams from NBI, Validation & Translation (V & T), Data Record Management System (DRMS) and a number of other domains had to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat to adapt programmes, processes and procedures to be ready for the first bill run by Bidvest.

Invoices were printed in Johannesburg and delivered to NBI for final verification. Constellation, the online QA tool, was loaded and another round of checks were executed to ensure that the information presented on the QA Tool was in fact correct, where after we transported the cycle into production - with great success.

On 1 May 2015, an eagerly and long awaited date for the NBI team and Telkom, the first Mobile run, as well as Cycle A, Tibill and Cybill were completed. Constant communication between the various stakeholders took place to ensure that any problems were resolved without delay. On the night we did the Mobile run, the QA information was available on the QA tool within 30 minutes.

Checking continued! Soon thereafter, Cycles A to H, Tibill and Cybill were successfully completed for the month of May - a milestone that we will remember forever.

For the first week after migration, Bidvest supplied us with a paper-based backup for invoices. We will soon, as part of phase two of the migration, be able to cease our reliance on paper completely as all verification evidence will be stored on the QA Tool for audit and query management purposes, resulting in major savings on both paper and storage costs.

The successful migration was a direct result of many hours of preparation, together with the commitment by everyone involved. Ricky Uys, Project Manager from Bidvest, shared her experiences, responding to a mail that was sent to them to acknowledge the great success of this outsourcing project:

“Thank you; we feel the same way. It went well considering the size of the undertaking, and some issues here and there are expected, so I think that is fine, they will come up again as changed processes become “old hat”.

I emphatically believe the only reason it went well is because Telkom, and particularly the NBI team, V&T, DRMS have been flexible, patient, willing and positive throughput the implementation - all the way back to October last year.

So a BIG thank you from me, I have done implementations like these before and the people were definitely not this awesome.

Thanks for having Kavisha and I on Thursday, and giving up so much time for the QA Tool workshop, and the yummy refreshments and laughs!”

Kind regards

The project team has asked me to make special mention of the following people, who contributed largely to the success of this migration:

NBI: Theuns Bothma, Malan Coetzee, Susan Boonzaaier, Christa Vermaak, Cathy Van Wyk, Rina Dennis, Ansie De Wit, Carol-Anne Van Der Westhuizen, Serene Roos

Production Support: Justice Motsoto

V&T: George Serradinho, Trevino Reddy

DRMS: Ian Gomersall

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to every team member who has contributed to the staggering success of this outsourcing process. You delivered beyond expectation, because of your diligence, your dedication and your absolute will to succeed. Congratulations and very well done!

- Malan Coetzee and Theuns Bothma, of Telkom.